My most common feeling as an oncology Mum.
All through this journey I have felt guilt at different points and in different ways.
In the beginning it was guilt over him being sick. Guilt over him crying in pain. Guilt that he was missing out. Guilt that he was having to have this poison pumped into his body to save his life.
To me, it was my fault. It was always my fault.
Every time a temperature spiked, every time his levels weren’t quite right it was somehow my fault.
The guilt never goes away, you just start to ignore it. Thats what I have done anyway. I haven’t processed it. I am just pretending it isn’t there because there is another huge thing that weighs on my mind lately.
My other children.
The siblings of the child with cancer.
The forgotten ones.
The ones us oncology Mums have to leave behind, to say goodbye to over and over again because other things have to come first.
“No I can’t read to you, I am doing his meds.”
“No I can’t take you to the park because I am exhausted from not sleeping in the hospital.”
“No I can’t help you with your homeschooling” because at that point in time, your education wasn’t important. You were learning about life, the garden, being unstructured. But mostly you were safe. And safe is all I cared about.
But now it has come around and bit me in the arse.
My beautiful, intelligent daughter has been given her 6th secondary school choice.
She has always been ‘Exceeding” in all subjects at school, especially maths. She was born with a love for learning. She has wanted to be a GP for as long as I can remember and she has had her path set out in her head. She is driven beyond her years and has achieved 100% on the test paper which deems her suitable for a Grammar School.
But the day came last October and she failed the maths part. Miserably.
I was so sure she would pass that I took my eye off the ball.
She did very little in the way of school work during the whole first lockdown as I was never there. When I was there in body, my mind was always racing with hospitals, chemo and appointment dates.
I failed her. And that fucking sucks.
So now, here I am, trying to convince her that the awful school she has been allocated- the one with the ‘requires improvement’ on last years Ofsted, is the best school for her.
The time in her life where she needs to feel safe the most, she doesn’t.
None of this was her fault, yet she has sacrificed the most because of it.
I have appealed to 3 other schools, which ironically are closer to our house, so it is now a waiting game.
I need to have done enough for her this time round. I need to make things right because I am her Mum and that’s what Mums do.
Being a good Mum is my thing. I would go without so my children didn’t have to, I would move heaven and earth to make sure they have the best possible start in life, but this time it is out of my hands.
Total strangers are now sitting in a zoom call, deciding my daughters future, based on a few written letters.
I hope I have done enough.
I wish I had done more last year. I wish I had supported her more. I wish cancer never came into our family and caused all of this.
I hate cancer.
I hate having to always fight for something.
I hate the way cancer always takes whatever it wants.
I hate feeling helpless.
And I hate knowing I have let them down.